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The toponym 'Fodele' is first recorded in a 1248 document as the location of the imperial monastery of Sfaka's farmlands. The name is assigned to the first settlers with the family name 'Fodele', a name which is documented in 13th and 14th century archives, including the catalogue of Cretan slaves who were later freed with the 1299 convention of Alexios Kallergis. In the mid-14th century Fodele was the feud of the Rethymnian noble family of Melissinos or Melissourgos.
In the 1577 census, under the rule of Giacomo Foscarini, the settlement is referred to as Fodhele of the Mylopotamos eparchy.
According to researchers, the archaeological findings, the philological resources and the exceptional natural environment make Fodele a quite interesting archaeological landscape. Architectural monuments are found in the regions of Gialiskari, Lenika, Anemokeratia and others.
Since 1993, Greek archaeologists have been excavating an impressive Minoan settlement in the region of Pera Galinon with valuable architectural remains, which is probably part of the network of Minoan ports – stations of the north coast of Crete from the paleo-palatial years (1900-1700 B.C).
The coastal valley of Fodele is related to the site of the port of ancient Axos, Pantomantrion, an ancient city that is placed by Plinius Ptolemaios after the site of 'Dion Akron' (perhaps at the cape of Stavros that closes the cove of Fodele to the west).
In 1963, ruins were found in the site Ellinika or Lenika, which, according to P. Faure, were Roman. However, the British archaeologist I. Sanders doubted this theory after a research he conducted around the Byzantine church of the site.
El Greco (1541 – 1614), as Domenicos Theotokopoulos was commonly known, is considered to be one of the greatest painters of the Spanish renaissance. He was born in the village of Fodele in Crete and started studying post-byzantine art at an early age. When he was 26 he travelled to Italy (Venice and Rome) where he enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and Venetian renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain where he lived for the rest of his life and produced his best known paintings. El Greco was distinguished for developing his own dramatic expressionistic style evident in his paintings that still move and inspire many people and artists around the world.
In 1934, professors and students from the University of Valladolid donated to the community of Fodele a memorial stone made from the rocks of Toledo, the second homeland of the painter. The stone bears the anaglyph of El Greco's figure and the inscription on it writes:
"LA FACULTAD DE HISTORIA
DE LA UNIVERSITAD DE VALLADOLID
ALMA EN EL CORAZON DE KASTILLIA
OFRENDA A FODELE ESTA PIEDRA
ARRANCADA DE TOLEDO
EN MEMORIA DELA GLORIA INMORTAL
DE DOMENIKOS THEOTOKOPOULOS
("The Faculty of History of the University of Valladolid, the soul and heart of Kastillia, offers to Fodele this stone detached from Toledo, in memory of the immortal glory of Domenicos Theotokopoulos. July, 1934")
This stone was placed at the village square, under the century-old platan.